Juror Misconduct With Smart Phone Could Cause Mistrial

The Neulander murder case in Syracuse New York is a perfect example of the danger of jurors using their smart phones to get information during trials. The in a Juror misconduct hearing being held to today regarding a juror disobeying the judges instructions and using her smart phone to retrieve news stories about the murder case she was hearing as a juror.

This has become a recurring problem in every jurisdiction and judges and lawyers are trying to come up with ways to prevent this type of misconduct. Most experts agree that the trial judge must order the jurors not to use social media during trial. The warnings must be explicit. A judge should remind jurors of this instruction at the beginning of testimony, during each break, and at the close of testimony each day of trial. The jurors should also be given copies of the instructions in writing. To further drive the trial judge might have each juror state on record that they will obey the judges instructions on the use of social media.

 

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